Qualcomm Tests In-Flight Cell Phone Calls With American Airlines

San Diego-based Qualcomm and American Airlines tested a proof-of-concept, CDMA mobile phone system for commercial planes Thursday. Passengers on a flight from Dallas/Forth Worth made telephone calls using a third generation CDMA-based network, connected from the air to the ground by a satellite link. The proof of concept flight included a cellular basestation onboard, which funneled calls and text messages through the Globalstar satellite system. Qualcomm is working on making cell phone calls legal from commercial airliners, and anticipates the availability of cell service on planes is approximately 24 months away.